Carolina Panthers All-Pro Linebacker and one of the games best young stars is calling it a career at just 28 years of age. Kuechly listed his inability to play the game he’s loved since 4th grade with the intensity and strength he feels it deserves.
Kuechly played his college ball at Boston College after being listed as just a three star recruit. During his time in the ACC, he accomplished just about every single individual accolade a collegiate player can receive.
- ACC Rookie of the Year
- 3-Time First Team All-ACC
- Two Time Consensus All-American
- ACC Defensive Player of the Year
- Lott Trophy
- Lombardi Trophy
- Butkus Award
- Bronko Nagurski Trophy
Luke’s incredible career brought him to the first round of the NFL Draft.
Kuechly was selected by the Carolina Panthers #9 overall in 2012 and was the third defensive player off the board. During his eight years in Carolina, he managed to fill out his trophy case with a list of professional accomplishments that are the envy of all of his colleagues at the linebacker position.
- Seven-Time Pro Bowler
- Five-Time First Team All-Pro
- Two-Time Second Team All-Pro
- Art Rooney Award
- Three-Time Butkus Award
- NFL Defensive Player of the Year
- Two-Time NFL Tackles Leader
- NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
- PFWA All-Rookie Team
- Played in the Super Bowl
Kuechly managed to accomplish this Hall of Fame resume while retiring on the precipice of his athletic prime. The linebacker follows the recent leads of Rob Gronkowski, Andrew Luck, and Calvin Johnson in retiring from the violent game well before those before him have called it a career.
Professional football is a violent game and takes a relentless toll on the body. To our knowledge Kuechly has had three concussions in three seasons including one against the Jacksonville Jaguars that led to him openly weeping on the field.
As we continue to learn more about the dangers of professional football we can expect to see the athletes we love leave the game earlier and earlier. Luke is retiring with two years left on his first contract after his rookie deal. He leaves the game he loves because his body can no longer do the things he needs to do to be successful.
We should expect this kind of early retirement to become the norm the more we learn about head injuries and their link to professional football. But that doesn’t take the sting out of announcements like this and I doubt it ever will.